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irony: the prevailing wind of the nineties.

a figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used
ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply condemnation or contempt
course of events, the result of which is the direct opposite of what might have been intended as though due to the malice of fate, as in life's ironies

ridicule condemnation contempt malice

perhaps some people saw what this was doing to friendship, and to their relations with the people around them - for if you give out nothing real, nothing but wit and irony, people laugh and are entertained, but they are afraid of you. maybe somehow we all became afraid of each other?
and it became hard to deal with anything real. something bad would happen, someone would fall off the train, and nobody would know what to say or do so they'd shrug, and move on, leaving the fallen ones without a hand
to pull them back up again.
once there were communities, linked by shared struggles. the failed crop, the pit closure. blessed be the ties that bind our kindred hearts in twain and those ties were strong, we looked out for each other. the mad lady in the street, drifting in her nighty, would have been stopped and given a coat or a blanket, a cup of tea, an arm around her. and maybe somewhere there are tiny pockets of the world where this still happens:
but not here.
here, in the cities, you go it alone.

and people get lonely but they can't seem to mend it: too tired, and too afraid, because confidence comes from connection. in high school or college, so many people around you that even on the edge of things you're still a part of it - maybe you made your own part, there are communities within communities.
but somehow, as adults, we lose that.
we don't work where we live any more, most of us.
there is a diaspora every day, a random movement of particles at daybreak spreading out in brownian motion all trails of smoke and no substance, and you can live in a room right next door to someone and never speak, never want to. all sentiment looks sentimental, built-in obsolescence is the order of the day, nobody mends anything any more.
this is our sickness:
sometimes it feels fatal.

but the machines are saving us, or maybe we're saving the machines. spun out helplessly every day alone to land in front of little boxes, plastic and metal and silicon - ostensibly tools of the market forces that tore us all apart and stole our time - we are using the machines to steal it all back again.
and here in this little database, the scattered people slowly coalesce,
an intermittently sparkling cloud linked by shared struggles, enabled for listening, enabled for telling.
with a word they link arms across vast distances.
see how they shine.